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VENICE 2015 Venice Days

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First Light: a father in search of his son


- VENICE 2015: Vincenzo Marra returns to Venice with a touching movie about the issue of disputed children, starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Chilean actress Daniela Ramirez

First Light: a father in search of his son
Riccardo Scamarcio and Daniela Ramirez in First Light

The drama of a father whose son has been taken from him is the focus of the new film by Vincenzo Marra, who with First Light [+see also:
interview: Vincenzo Marra
film profile
returns to Venice Days at the Venice Film Festival after previously participating with The Session is Open (2006) and The Triplet [+see also:
film review
interview: Vincenzo Marra
film profile
(2012). The main character is played by Riccardo Scamarcio, a strong performer who interprets Marco’s multi-shaded character: the cynical lawyer, the loving father, the inattentive and potentially violent partner, the man torn apart by an irretrievable loss.

Marco lives in Bari with his Latin American partner, Martina (Chilean actress Daniela Ramirez) and their 7-year-old son, Mateo (young Gianni Pezzolla). The film brings us immediately into the daily life of this family: Marco and Martina are loving parents and they smother Mateo with care, but their relationship has been on the rocks for some time. Martina is distressed; she misses her country, while Marco is busy with his job and seems to take everything for granted. One day, upon returning from a business trip, Marco finds the house empty: Martina has left without a trace taking Mateo with her. Thus begins the desperate search of this father, a journey that will take him to the other side of the world.

The film is divided into two parts: in the first, in Bari, the viewer experiences Martina’s torment in a country that’s not her own in which, clearly, she has never really integrated, listens to her reasons (“there’s no future in Italy”), and follows her escape plan; in the second part, Marco is the one who finds himself uprooted in an unspecified South American metropolis with six million inhabitants where, after fruitless contact with police, lawyers and embassies, in order to find his son he will have no other option but to turn to a private investigator. What follows is the legal odyssey, in which rage gives way to feelings of powerlessness, and in which he will be forced to take a step back and to relent.

“Every year, in Italy, thousands of children are taken away by a parent from the other, in 85% of cases by the mothers”, Marra tells us, “but this film could be set anywhere. It’s an agonizing issue for which global legislation has not yet managed to find a solution, and which often involves manipulation, lawyers giving bad advice, judges who can’t know what really goes on in a home…”. The movie by Marra reflects all of this, and still the misunderstanding, the doubts, the final moments of tenderness, all of the soul’s contradictory motions that characterize the end of a love story. And it does so with a measured simple style, avoiding any sentimental excesses: the most effective way to move the viewer.  

First Light, produced by Paco Cinematografica in collaboration with Rai Cinema and with the support of Mibact, will be in Italian theatres on 24 September with BIM. International sales are entrusted to US company Recreation Media.

(Translated from Italian)

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